The European Commission on Thursday announced that it decided to refer Greece and Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose the EU rules on personal data protection (the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive, Directive (EU) 2016/680).
In April 2016, the Council and the European Parliament agreed the Directive had to be transposed into national law by May 6, 2018.
In the case of Greece, the Commission is calling on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions in the form of a lump sum of 5,287.50 euros per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Greece or the date of delivery of the judgment under Article 260(3) TFEU, with a minimum lump sum of 1.310.000 euros and a daily penalty payment of 22.169,70 euros from the day of the first judgment until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment.
“The protection of personal data is a fundamental right enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU,” the Commission said in an announcement.
The aim of the Directive is to ensure a high level of protection of personal data while facilitating exchanges of personal data between national law enforcement authorities. The Directive lays down rules on the processing of personal data by competent law enforcement authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offenses or the execution of criminal penalties.
Moreover, the Directive aims to facilitate cross-border cooperation of police, prosecutors and judges to combat crime and terrorism more effectively across Europe.
“These EU rules contribute to the accomplishment of an area of freedom, security and justice,” the Commission said.
The lack of transposition by Spain and Greece creates a different level of protection of peoples’ rights and freedoms and hampers data exchanges between Greece and Spain on one side and other Member States who transposed the Directive on the other side. Therefore, the Commission opened the infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice to national authorities of the Member States concerned in July 2018 and the respective reasoned opinions – in January 2019.
According to the Commission, to date, Greece and Spain have not notified on the adoption of the national measures necessary in order to transpose the Directive.